Work Group Minutes

Sunflower, Soybean and Soyfood Forum
held on 1 April 2015 at 10h00 at the offices of the Oilseeds Industry, 49 River Road, Woodmead

  1. Opening

    The meeting was opened with a prayer, offered by Dr van der Walt.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson, Mr GJH Scholtemeijer, welcomed all to the first meeting of the Forum in 2015.

  3. Attendance


    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer Chairperson
    Mr J Botma OAC
    Dr L Chetty Sansor
    Mr W Cronjé OAC
    Dr L du Plessis PRF Contractor
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr K-J Leeuw ARC-Irene
    Mr C Louw GrainSA
    Ms L Mellet NAMC
    Dr A Nel ARC-GCI
    Dr T Nkuwana ARC-Irene
    Ms M Purnell GSI
    Ms T Rudman SANCU
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Mr C Sturgess JSE Commodities
    Dr W van der Walt OAC
    Dr P van Twisk PVT Consultants
    Ms R Verwey NAMC


    Dr E Briedenhann OAC/PRF
    Ms A de Beer ARC-GCI
    Mr Giyani Department of Education
    Mr J Grey GrainSA
    Mr C Joubert NAMC
    Ms W Louw SAGL
    Mr J Rankin OAC
    Mr A van Vuuren NWK
    Mr A Van Zyl GrainSA
    Mr L Verhoef Agratech Trade
  4. Personalia

    Condolences were conveyed to Mr Verhoef, on the passing of his wife.

  5. Confirmation of the agenda

    The agenda was accepted as it stood, with the addition of:

    • Item 13.7 – Soybeans: grading dispensation; and
    • Item 13.8 – Sunflowers: grading dispensation.
  6. Approval of minutes

    1. Approval of the minutes of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soyfood Forum held on 3 November 2014 and referral to the website


      1. That the minutes of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soyfood Forum, that was held on 3 November 2014, be accepted as a true and fair reflection of that meeting, and be referred to the OPDT website for publication.
  7. Matters arising

    1. Marketing aspects

      1. Crop Estimates

        The Chairperson called on Ms Scheepers to comment on the latest crop estimates for sunflower and soybeans.

        Ms Scheepers said according to the second production estimate for summer crops for 2014-2015, 87 300 hectares had been planted to soybeans, with an expected production figure of 942 850 tons. She noted that this would be the second largest crop on record, following on the previous season's bumper crop of more than 948 000 tons. She said soybean plantings in the Free State represented 44% of the total area planted to soybeans, while 36% of the total area under soybeans had been planted in Mpumalanga, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 6% of the total plantings, North West with 5%, with soybean plantings in Gauteng, Limpopo, Eastern, Northern and Western Cape making up the remainder of the plantings.

        Ms Scheepers said according to the latest estimate 578 600 tons of sunflower would be produced in the current season, with 567 000 hectares having been planted to sunflower. She noted that sunflower plantings in the Free State represented 49% of the total area planted to sunflower, while 35% of the total area under sunflower had been planted in North West, followed by Limpopo with 14% of the total plantings, with sunflower plantings in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape making up the remainder of the plantings.

        The Chairperson thanked Ms Scheepers for her contribution.

      2. SAGIS

        Mr Hawkins presented an overview of the national and international supply and demand situation of soybeans and sunflowers, and of the situation with regard to the CEC's estimates and SAGIS deliveries. He also provided information on sunflower and soybean imports and exports, consumption, stocks and local and international prices. Cognisance was taken that the data could also be accessed at the SAGIS website (www.sagis.org.za).

        The Chairperson thanked Mr Hawkins for his contribution.

        Cognisance was taken of the latest editions of the SAGIS Monthly Bulletin and the SAGIS Weekly Bulletin.

  8. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal, Western and Eastern Cape

      The Chairperson noted that the soybean hectares in KwaZulu-Natal had increased from 35 000 to 42 000. He said soybean production in the Eastern and Western Cape was negligible, and added that KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape were generally not considered to be sunflower production areas of note.

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      The Chairperson said according to the latest crop estimates, 245 000 hectares would be planted to soybeans in Mpumalanga in the current production season, as opposed to the 203 000 hectares that had been planted in the previous season.

      The Chairperson noted that climatic conditions did not favour sunflower production in Mpumalanga, with the result that not much sunflower was produced there.

      Mr Louw confirmed that Grain SA was satisfied with the crop estimates for soybeans and sunflower in Mpumalanga.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      No feedback.

    4. Free State

      No feedback.

    5. General

      No feedback. The Chairperson note that any number of producers had indicated that they could not attend the meeting, due to harvesting commitments.

  9. Research

    1. Sunflower

      1. Sclerotinia survey

        Ms Scheepers confirmed that the CEC would once again do the annual Sclerotinia survey during May and June of 2015.

      2. Sunflower value chain study

        Mr Keun reported that the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) had finalised the comprehensive study that they had done on the local and international sunflower value chain. He said unfortunately the study had not identified any opportunities, by means of which local sunflower production could be stimulated.

        Dr Nel said economics dictated producers' decisions on the crops that were cultivated. He noted that sunflower production in North West was currently more profitable than maize production. He said as far as he was concerned Clearfield technology could boost sunflower production, due to the fact that this technology simplified weed management. He mentioned that production of high-oleic sunflower seemingly just could not come off the ground.

        Dr Du Plessis mentioned that high-oleic sunflower had a yield lag and added that there was no premium payable for high-oleic sunflower.

        Mr Botma said in his view more sunflower would be planted in the drier areas, like the Free State and North West. Mr Louw was in agreement on this.

      3. National Sunflower Cultivar Evaluation report 2013-2014

        Cognisance was taken of the report on the national sunflower cultivation trials, which had been planted in the 2013-2014 production season.

      4. List of research projects 2015-2016

        Cognisance was taken of the list of the research projects that had either been approved or were still being considered by the Oilseeds Industry and the Protein Research Foundation (PRF).

      5. M20/24/33 "Response of sunflower to a conservation agriculture production system and nitrogen fertilisation", Dr AA Nel, ARC-GCI

        The Chairperson called on Dr Nel to do a presentation on the findings of his research on the response of sunflower to conservation agriculture production systems and nitrogen fertilisation.

        In his presentation, Dr Nel provided on overview of the advantages of conservation agriculture (CA), amongst which minimising loss of soil resulting from wind and other forms of erosion, alleviating the impact of climate change as a result of the increased carbon content of the soil, and improved soil quality were mentioned. He explained that CA was based on three principles viz decreased cultivation, year-round soil cover and crop rotation, including a leguminous crop.

        Dr Nel noted that 125 million hectares of arable soil was currently cultivated by means of CA practices worldwide. He said although a significant number of farmers cultivated sunflower in a CA system, very little information was available on this. He mentioned that his research had been aimed at determining how sunflower performed in such a system, as opposed to when traditional cultivation practices were employed, and to determine whether or not additional nitrogen fertilisation would be desirable.

        Dr Nel said research trials had been planted in Potchefstroom, on land that had been under CA practices for a period of only three years. He outlined the methods and procedures followed in the research, as well as the treatments applied.

        Dr Nel noted that there was a 10% yield decrease in sunflower cultivated by means of CA practices, that there was no difference between the nitrogen fertilisation requirements of sunflower cultivated on CA soils versus those cultivated on ploughed soils, and that there also was no difference in the incidence of pests and diseases on CA versus traditional sunflower.

        Dr Nel said producers' experience had indicated that there was an improvement in sunflower emergence on CA soils. He noted that weed management was considered to be a challenge as far as CA soils were concerned, and that Clearfield sunflower cultivars should therefore be the preferred option for CA practices.

        In response to a question by Mr Hawkins, Dr Nel said it was most likely that an economic analysis would be done, as the 10% decrease in CA sunflower yields may very well be offset by the savings effected by decreased fuel usage and so forth.

        The Chairperson thanked Dr Nel for the valuable feedback he had provided.

    2. Soybeans

      1. National soybean cultivar trials

        No feedback.

      2. Soybean rust

        No rust infections had been reported thus far.

      3. Rhizobium: feedback

        Mr Louw reported that the Registrar had issued a document containing regulations and guidelines pertaining to seed treatments and chemicals.

        The Chairperson ruled that the matter be held in abeyance.


        1. That feedback is being awaited on the issue of regulating Rhizobium inoculants distributed locally.


      4. Soybean storage: moisture levels

        Mr Louw reported that the issue of increased moisture levels of soybeans accepted for silo storage was raised during GrainSA's previous conference, as it was felt that harvesting capacity would be increased and risks would be decreased. He said Dr Briedenhann had compiled a document, in which these risks were identified. He noted that the possibility of certain pilot projects would be investigated, and added that GrainSA would take the matter forward.

      5. List of research projects 2015-2016

        Cognisance was taken of the list of projects that had been approved or were under consideration by the Oilseeds Advisory Committee and the PRF.

  10. Seed

    Mr Louw confirmed that the seed companies made sufficient amounts of sunflower seed available to meet producers' needs. Dr Nel mentioned that some producers had indicated that they had not been able to source sufficient seed of certain preferred sunflower cultivars. Mr Botma reported that there was a shortage of seeds of Clearfield cultivars.

    Dr Chetty confirmed that the recent droughts would most likely have an impact on the availability of soybean seed.

  11. Technology transfer

    1. Information days 2015

      Cognisance was taken of the following information days:

      21-23 July PRF Soybean Symposia, Del­mas and Bothaville;
      27-31 July Vaal University of Techno­logy Soybean Food Sympo­sium and Workshop; and
      1-3 September No Till Conference
    2. Sunflower Symposium

      The Chairperson noted that a symposium had to be planned well in advance, and that the theme of such a symposium had to be determined at least 12 months before the date of that symposium. He requested that members table suggestions for possible sunflower symposium themes at the next meeting of the Forum, which is to be held in November.


      1. That suggestions for possible sunflower symposium themes are to be tabled at the November meeting of the Forum.


  12. Soyfood

    1. Soy Southern Africa (SSA) – way forward

      The Chairperson reported that the Oilseeds Advisory Committee (OAC) had taken over the SSA, and were consulting with various roleplayers on advancing the work done by bodies such as the Eden Development Foundation, Vaal University of Technology's (VUT) Centre for Sustainable Development and so forth. He said further feedback would be provided at future meetings of the Forum.

    2. Funding of research projects

      No report back.

    3. Training (Intsoy in South Africa)

      The Chairperson noted that the head of the soyfood research department at Embrapa, the Brazilian agricultural research institute, had been invited to deliver a presentation at the VUT's soyfood seminar that was planned for September 2015.

    4. Non-GMO

      Dr van der Walt reported that an estimated 92% of the area planted to soybeans in South Africa was GM, with the rest probably being non-GMO. He said as far as he could determine less than 1% of the seed sold was non-GM, and that the conclusion could be made that producers of non-GM probably used retained grain as seed, and did not buy new seed every year.

  13. Additional matters

    1. Articles

      Cognisance was taken of the articles included as Annexure I of the documentation of the meeting.

    2. Sunflower Week in Review

      Cognisance was taken of the various editions of the Sunflower Week in Review that had been included as Annexure J.

    3. Merit awards

      The Chairperson called on the members to submit nominations for awards to deserving individuals for meritorious contributions to the sunflower, soybean and groundnut industries. He said awards were made in the categories best scientific article, best PhD thesis, best MSc dissertation and exceptional contributions to the oilseeds industry.


      1. That cognisance be taken that nominations were being awaited for awards to deserving individuals for meritorious contributions to the oilseeds and protein seeds industries.

        Mr KeunSSF

    4. Application for statutory measures

      Mr Keun said all the relevant role players had been approached for comment on the application regarding statutory measures for the sunflower, soybean and groundnut industries. He noted that the deadline for comments had been set as end of March 2015, and added that he and Mr Louw of GrainSA would revise the application in line with comments received from the industry. He said once this process had been finalised, the Forum will submit the application to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


      1. That the application regarding statutory measures for the sunflower, soybean and groundnut industries will be submitted by the Forum to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, once all requirements have been met.

        Mr Keun

    5. Oilseeds Focus

      The Chairperson announced that the Oilseeds Industry and the Protein Research Foundation would launch the first edition of the new magazine Oilseeds Focus at a function that is to be held in the following week.

    6. Newsletter: Malnutrition Matters

      Cognisance was taken of the latest edition of Malnutrition Matters.

    7. Soybeans: dispensation

      Mr Keun reported that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Agriculture had granted a dispensation with regard to the grading of soybeans. He said the document would be distributed electronically to all members of the Forum.

      Ms Purnell noted that there was an error on the first page of the document, in that reference was made to "... Annexure B and I" instead of "... Annexure B and J".

    8. Sunflowers: dispensation

      Mr Keun reported that SACOTA had notified him that GrainSA had applied for a dispensation on the size of sunflower seeds.

  14. Dates of meetings

    The date of the next meeting of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soyfood Forum was confirmed as 2 November 2015.

  15. Adjournment

    The Chairperson thanked the members of the Forum for their attendance at, and contributions to, the meeting. There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.